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Characteristics of a Good Salesperson



For a salesperson to be successful, he or she must have some attributes. Successful salespeople do share some common characteristics:
– they are highly motivated,
– dependable,
– ethnical,
– knowledgeable,
– good communicators,
– flexible, and
– emotionally intelligent
(Weitz et al, 1998).

Riddle (2001) identifies the following as the key characteristics which a good salesperson should possess.

1. Communication ability:
The ability of the salesperson to communicate effectively with different people at different levels. Salespeople need to be fluent and eloquent enough to communicate with any prospects or members of an organization’s buying centre where they need to make sale calls and presentations. They must be careful in their choice of words. At times the salesperson needs to influence the receptionist to get in to see the decision maker, and at other times they will be dealing directly with people at the higher management level. Therefore, making sure their communication skills are top notch (Riddle, 2001).

2. Accommodation ability:
This describes the ability of the salesperson to get along with others with lifestyles and self-concepts and from all works of life. Salespeople meet and deal with people of varied life styles and personality or self concepts, and as such, they should be trained to get along with each and everyone they meet. (Riddle, 2001).

3. Empathy:
This is ability of the salesperson to show concern about the problems and feelings of their prospects. They need the ability to show them “I feel your concern” and also be seen to be ready to proffer solutions to their problems.

4. Positive mental attitude:
Sales job does not have room for people who are whiners and complainers. This is because whiners or complainers do not last long as they will be too busy complaining about everything to be able to sell anything for the organization, and hence, achieve little or virtually nothing positive in the end (Riddle, 2001).

5. Common sense:
Sales people must exhibit common sense in all aspects of what they do. Salespeople that bring trouble to the organization are not required. The sales people to be hired are those who have good heads on their shoulders and who show common sense in terms of exhibiting purposive behavior in selling.

6. Humility:
Sales people are required to be down to earth (humble). Even if a salesperson is a “goal getter” type, the ability to be humble cannot be compromised. Being humble can be an advantage when the situations demand some humility and respect.

7. Ability to appreciate other people:
Salespeople must have the ability to recognizing good perspectives of people they meet. They do not have to be cynical about things, otherwise they will not make much sales for the firm. A lot of people have bad sides, no doubt, however, salespeople should acknowledge the good in people they meet (Riddle, 2001).

8. Self-Sufficient:
Sales job requires people that have the ability to find their way off of a desert island with only a safety pin. Sales job is survival of the fittest. It requires some tact and innovative behavior to excel in difficult situations. This suggests that salesforce should not yield to challenges but be self-sufficient and prepared to do battle in the sales world and survive.

9. Enthusiasm:
To sell successfully, sales people must not only believe in the product they are presenting, they must be zealous about it as well. A salesperson must apply him or herself to the job. The enthusiasm must be perceived to be genuine, flowing in the blood, and not phoney.

10. Imaginative ability:
Salespeople are required to use their imagination whenever the Situation calls for it. At times they might need to draw upon their imagination to make some sales. They need to be creative, imaginative to be able to close sales even when they seem to be very tasking and difficult or even impossible (Riddle, 2001).